Tom Steyer’s cash is being used to fund attack ads claiming that the Republican Senate candidates are stooges, but when the spotlight shifts ever so slightly to him, he vehemently denies any comparison between himself — altruistic liberal — and those money-grubbing Koch brothers:

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 26: Tom Steyer poses for a portrait on Saturday, January 26, 2012, in Washington, DC. For the first time in years, President Obama has started talking in blunt terms about global warming. Billionaire Tom Steyer of San Francisco is the man who has Obama's ear when it comes to energy and climate change. Steyer is helping drive policy in Washington and is even under consideration to be the next Energy Secretary, though he might not want the job. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
Tom Steyer poses for a portrait on Jan. 26, 2012, in Washington. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Charles and David Koch’s priorities “line up perfectly with their pocketbooks — and that’s not true for us,” Steyer said.

A Koch spokesman objected to Steyer’s characterization.

“That assertion is false and disingenuous, and people can see through that. Koch opposes all mandates and subsidies, even when they exist for businesses in which we operate. In doing so, we act against our self-interest. We have been consistent in this position for over 40 years,” spokesman Robert Tappan said in an email.

Really, is Steyer serious or simply another self-deluded billionaire? Steyer has interests — in stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, for example. Whether it is a monetary interest or not, he’s using his considerable wealth to do just what the Koch brothers do, namely, influence the political process. Meanwhile, the Kochs accurately state that unlike some business interests, they oppose almost every regulation because they believe in the free market. They also believe in a Rand Paul-like foreign policy and gay marriage. Maybe Steyer is like the Kochs — but only when the latter are on the “right” side?

It really boils down to typical left-wing arrogance. Liberals say that they are for the poor and that conservatives are selfish. And if one brings up the skyrocketing poverty rate, their opposition to welfare reform (which lifted people out of poverty and into the workplace) and their war against school choice (which benefits poor kids), the answer is either “Give us more power” or “At least our intentions are pure.” (Steyer insists: “I think [the Kochs are] in a very, very different position than me and from the people that I work with. And the fact that we’re on opposite sides of the table on a lot of issues — that is true. But the way that we’re approaching them is very, very different.” Really?)

The hypocrisy is remarkable. First, we witnessed liberal outrage over defeats in the campaign finance cases (in Citizens United, then with McCutcheon), which decried shadowy third-party groups (just Republican ones). Now, the hypocrisy is in full view in the war against the Kochs led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is using Steyer’s wealth to stay in power. It is all a bit much. Democrats have always had the advantage of Big Labor to supply money and troops for Democratic campaigns. Those guys sure want something in return (e.g. card check, National Labor Relations Board appointments). Democrats have cash from Hollywood, Manhattan and Silicon Valley liberal elites who would like pot and gay marriage to be legal and the internal combustion engine to disappear. Those people are just as “selfish” as the Koch brothers, arguably more so since it is the working class, not liberal elites, who will, for example, feel the pinch from higher fuel prices.

Republicans would never call Steyer “un-American,” as Reid dubbed the Koch brothers. Such a term is deeply offensive and unworthy of a robust democracy in which parties battle it out in the court of public opinion. But it is only fair to point out that Democratic billionaires are willing to dish it out, but they sure can’t take it.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.